DID YOU READ

The 11 Types of Lip Sync Scenes From the Movies

Duckie Pretty in Pink

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By Kevin Maher

Saturday Night Live writer Michael O’Donoghue observed that the 1950’s fad of paint-by-numbers perfectly captured the hopes and dreams of post-war America, asking, “What better metaphor for life under Joseph McCarthy’s rigid witch-hunting regime than a style of painting in which you had to stay carefully within the lines?”

The current fad of celebrity lip-syncing echoes paint-by-numbers, with artists going through the motions and giving the audience what they expect is coming. (See also: movie remakes and reboots.)

What’s more, lip-syncing gives famous people a chance to be relatable (“they’re just like us!“) and aspirational (even celebrities wish to be like other famous people). But long before this celebrity parlor game was a TV staple, lip-syncing was featured in some famous movie scenes. There are roughly 11 categories of celebrity lip syncing scenes:

1. The Creepy-Ass Lip Sync

Dean Stockwell belongs in some hall-of-fame for this unnerving performance of Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” from Blue Velvet. The creep-factor is upgraded by Dennis Hopper’s mesmerized reverence and Brad Dourif dancing with a snake. (See also: Mulholland Drive, where David Lynch features some almost grotesque sing-along numbers in the movie within a movie.)

And of course, we can thank Reservoir Dogs for making us all shudder whenever Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle With You” comes on the classic rock station.


2. The Irreverent/Sexually Frustrated Teen Lip Sync

If there’s one thing John Hughes got right about smart-ass teens of the ’80s, it’s that they best express themselves through lip-sync. Whether it’s Ferris Bueller in the Von Steuben Day parade or Ducky serenading a girl out of his league, mouthing along to music is a go-to device. Of course, Ducky’s infamous performance comes off as uncomfortable cultural appropriation today, which brings us to…


3. The Racially Problematic Lip Sync

Preston Sturges’ films were known for rapid-fire comic dialogue, but he wasn’t above a good synchronization gag. In The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, Trudy Kockenlocker (actress Betty Hutton) presents herself as the singer of a Paul Robeson-esque song. This 1944 film helped pave the way for generations of white people imitating black artists.


4. The Candid Moment Lip Sync

Most movies won’t show the hero masturbating to his beloved (well, except for Fast Times at Ridgemont High, of course) — so what’s the next best humiliating solo act? Lip-syncing to sappy songs. Extra credit if the character is “caught in the act.” The opening song from Just Friends features Ryan Reynolds in an Eddie Murphy style fat-suit mock crooning to the All-4-One classic “I Swear.”

Then of course there’s Tom Cruise’s infamous underwear lip-sync from Risky Business

Which became so popular, it was parodied by ALF…

See also: Hugh Grant’s lovelorn Prime Minister dancing to The Pointer Sisters’ “Jump (for My Love)” in Love, Actually.


5. The Group Car Ride Lip Sync

What starts as a singalong turns into a lip sync with Wayne and Garth mouthing the final chorus of “Bohemian Rhapsody” to each other. As many karaoke singers have discovered, it’s quite a long song.


6. The Flirtatious Duet Lip Sync

Is there anything more playful (in a PG-13 sort of way) than a man and woman moving their mouths to the radio while making eyes at each other? That flirty chemistry is best captured by Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey moving to “Oh, Baby” in Dirty Dancing.

See also: Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig lip-syncing to Jefferson Starship in The Skeleton Twins. (Yes, we know they’re brother and sister.)


7. The Celebrity Impersonating Another Celebrity Lip Sync

Behold, the very rare meta-lip-sync. Jim Carrey imitates Andy Kaufman playing along as Mighty Mouse in a routine from the first episode of Saturday Night Live in 1975.


8. The “We Sure Had Fun Making This Movie” Lip Sync

For years the closing-credits blooper reel was the filmmakers’ way to tell the audience, “Lighten up! Even if you didn’t enjoy watching this movie we had a ball making it!” (See The Cannonball Run or Liar, Liar.) In 1998, the Farrelly Brothers upped the ante by combining an outtakes reel with a musical number. There’s Something About Mary ends with the cast and crew goofing around and lip-syncing to The Foundations” “Build Me Up Buttercup.”


9. The Lip Sync as Seduction

Here we have Wayne’s World‘s Garth Algar again, using the ’70s classic “Foxy Lady” to put the moves on his dream woman.


10. The Angry Lip Sync

Jennifer Lawrence mixes angry cleaning with angry lip syncing (and a little angry singing) in this memorable scene from American Hustle. She also channeled Santana in a deleted lip sync to “Evil Ways” that plays as more “comedic actor moment” than “spurned suburban housewife.”


11. The Lip Sync as Lip Sync

Finally, sometimes a lip sync scene is just a lip sync scene. For instance, there’s Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths (above) performing “Waterloo” in a lip sync competition in Muriel’s Wedding.

And here’s Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce performing “I Will Survive” and the ’90s dance club staple “Finally” in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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